Mobile Payments to Take Flight as Airlines Add More Payment Options

The majority (71%) of airlines believe the future of airline payments is in mobile, according to a new survey, and more than a third (36%) of them plan to accept mobile payments on-​board flights within the next two years.  The number of airlines accepting mobile payments increased from 10% in 2012 to 25% last year, based on the survey of 68 traditional and low cost global airline carriers by WorldPay.

Airlines already provide a number of services by mobile and more appear to be on the way. As any frequent flyer knows, most airlines have mobile check-​in and the survey found that 71% expect to within two years.

The reasons pushing mobile payments along for airlines are somewhat split, with half (50%) seeing it as a way to keep up with competitors and almost as many (45%) as a way to increase revenue.

Airlines expect that extra revenue to come from a number of places within the next two years:

  • 55% — Paying for a flight
  • 55% — Ancillary sales
  • 47% — Buying an upgrade
  • 42% — Buying baggage allowance
  • 28% — Paying for onward travel
  • 26% — Buying inflight good and drink to consumer on board
  • 20% — Buying inflight duty free goods


Mobile payments also present airlines with a broad range of challenges, with the risk of fraud at the top of the list. Here’s the complete list of challenges, based on the Alternative Payment and Distribution Landscape report:

  • 65% — Risk of fraud
  • 65% — Integration with current systems and processes
  • 63% — Diversity of mobile platforms and operating systems
  • 51% — Payment security
  • 44% — Data security
  • 37% — Availability of resources for implementation
  • 30% — Cost to implement
  • 23% — Insufficient evidence for ROI
  • 12% — Selling in to the business internally
  • 7% — Less visibility due to outsourcing/​partnering
  • 7% — Customer understanding and/​or enabled equipment

Ad-​ology Research has discovered that m‑commerce shoppers are more likely than average to participate in social networks and follow brands, and are also more likely to make an automotive or home-​related purchase within the next 12 months.  And while television advertising has the most influence on this audience, m‑commerce shoppers are significantly more likely to respond to daily deals (like Groupon or Living Social), mobile smartphone app or text messages, and ads on a social network.  These formats may be a great way to connect with this audience, as 68% of m‑commerce shoppers plan to travel inside the U.S. within the next 12 months.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to Ad-​ology PRO. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.